Please bear with us while we update the look of our blog for 2013. Feel free to check back periodically for updates. We project the site will be complete by December 25, 2012!
The Staunton Parks and Recreation Department’s blog “The Method to our Madness” has converted to an overall City of Staunton blog. The new blog is called “Queen City Blog.” You can see by a few of the new menu tabs that we have a more comprehensive municipal government blog in mind. The new blog will be administered through the Staunton City Manager’s Office. We envision this blog to include informal reflections, opinions and comments from various authors. Potentially these authors will be City Council members, the City Manager, department heads and of course the blog administrators at the Staunton Parks and Recreation Department.
The new blogging platform will create an opportunity for City Council to communicate and highlight committee and board assignments as well as other topics of interest. The City Manager, Steve Owen, may use this as an opportunity to put a fresh friendly face on the business of city government and in the process encourage civic engagement. Department directors will now have a platform to create a public forum to discuss projects, complicated operations and current activities within their departments.
Overall, the new “Queen City Blog” will allow the City of Staunton’s leaders to communicate more effectively and transparently with the citizens of Staunton by summarizing, highlighting, providing points of views, explaining decisions and soliciting feedback. The new “Queen City Blog” forwards Staunton City Council 2020 Vision regarding Outreach/Citizen Involvement:
All citizens feel included and take pride in the city. Most are involved in some way in the continuous improvement of Staunton’s quality of life. This is accomplished through the use of the website and other social media, frequent Town Hall Meetings, print media, and public service announcements that increase awareness and provide useful information exchanges. We are an open, transparent government. Staunton enjoys an open, honest, fair-minded collaborative relationship with Augusta County, other regional partners, government agencies and the media.
City Council successfully advocates for the interests of its citizens in state policy making.
Here is a working model of where we envision our Public Information will be in 2014:
The City Manager has not adopted all aspects of this model. When the plan is solidified and approved, we imagine it taking place in three fluid and overlapping phases. Phase I is already complete with the City Manager’s Twitter feed, the Queen City Blog, the City Manager’s Facebook business page, the Internet-based press releases, and Everbridge now implemented. Phase II involves updating the City’s website with current information within the various databases as well as more current departmental information. We hope to update Government Access TV and link some of the posts to the CM Facebook business page and City website (under”News”) when appropriate. Developing the Social Media Policy is also part of Phase II. The final phase (phase III) may involve implementation of Coffee with Council blog posts, as well as the employee video blog and interesting news being posted to the CM Facebook page. Additionally, a Granicus application for public comments on City Council Agenda briefs, and a 311 application could become a communication tool on both the City Manager’s Facebook business page and the City website (www.staunton.va.us). Speaking of the City website, a potential face-lift is in the works. We wanted the public to know that we are exploring funding sources to move from Plone, the content based website platform that we currently use, to a new more user-friendly platform that will allow pictures and video to be easily uploaded. Although City staff agree this is the ultimate step for the City website, we are limited due to cost of the necessary website construction professionals and consultants.
The process of developing a policy about the rules for commenting on the blog and a separate policy for the City’s social media in general is progressing. For the time being, the “Code of Ethics” listed as a menu item above, will govern blog posts and comments. The time frame to be officially up and running is dependent upon available human resources. We expect a soft roll out of the City’s blog.
- Small Town We Love: Staunton, Virginia (thedailysouth.southernliving.com)
- City of Staunton, Virginia Offers Free Public Wi-Fi via Enterasys identiFi™ Solution (virtual-strategy.com)